Nevada’s Legal Marijuana Shortage Has Reached ‘Emergency’ Level

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Apparently distributors weren't quite prepared for the onslaught of pot sales.

Since officially launching legal recreational marijuana sales on July 1, Nevada has been selling weed at such an unexpectedly impressive clip that the governor has had to endorse so-called “emergency regulations” that can hopefully keep distribution networks up and running.

The heart of the problem is that, though the state has 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, due to ongoing licensing issues and court disputes, no one is currently allowed to legally transport recreational marijuana within the state. The way the law is currently written, the right to transport marijuana is exclusively the domain of liquor distributors for the first 18 months – a right which these distributors were able to uphold in a court battle last month. However, though seven of these liquor wholesalers applied to get licensing approval from the Nevada Department of Taxation in time for the July 1 deadline, as of now, none of those applications have been accepted because they don’t meet the requirements. In the interim, dispensaries have been allowed to sell their supplies that existed before the first of the month, but once those run out, both recreational buyers and sellers are out of luck.

To deal with the problem, this past Friday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed emergency regulations in a hope to prevent the nascent dispensary business from coming to a sudden standstill. The new rules, which still need to be approved by the Nevada Department of Taxation in a vote this Thursday, would open up the pool for distribution beyond booze businesses – essentially negating their previous court victory.

“Based on reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry’s expectations at the state’s 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, and the reality that many stores are running out of inventory, the Department must address the lack of distributors immediately,” said department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein. “Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days.” If an agreement isn’t reached, it could be the first time anyone has ever had trouble scoring drugs in Nevada.

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